Detained 91-year-old Buddhist Monk diesSmith Statement on Death of Vietnamese Human Rights Leader Long Imprisoned by Hanoi
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Ranking Member of the House global human rights subcommittee, released the following statement on the death of Vietnamese human rights leader Thich Quang Do:
“I am deeply saddened to hear that the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do passed away over the weekend at age 91,” said Smith, who has chaired 11 hearings on human rights in Vietnam. “He was a courageous champion for human rights in Vietnam and one of the world’s longest held prisoners of conscience. I had the privilege to meet him during a visit to Vietnam. He called to account Vietnam’s communist regime for its suppression of Buddhists, Christians, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, and other religious believers and was detained unjustly for decades until his death. His dream of a Vietnam where everyone can speak their mind or practice their beliefs without coercion will never die and one day, hopefully soon, will be realized.”
Thich Quang Do was a Buddhist monk and Nobel Prize nominee.
PHOTO: Smith met Thich Quang Do on a human rights trip to Vietnam in 2005.
In 2019, Smith reintroduced the Vietnam Human Rights Act (HR 1383) to punish human rights abuses in Vietnam and help prioritize religious freedom, internet freedom, and labor rights. Previous versions of Smith’s bipartisan bill passed the House three times by overwhelming margins, only to be stalled in the Senate.
H.R. 1383 would ensure that Hanoi understands that the U.S. will prioritize human rights in the relationship.
Smith is the co-chair of the bipartisan Vietnam Human Rights Caucus. He introduced H.R. 1383 with Reps. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the Caucus’ other two co-chairs.